Love Abounds: Embracing Yourself in Love



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I wonder, how often do we actually embrace ourselves, all of our self? 
How much happier would we be if we decided to live our lives fully, not running from any part of who we are, but accepting and embracing all of us? What beauty could occur when we merge the pain that has caused us to rage, with the pain that has caused us to withdraw and be timid? What would we discover when we accept what we have been through, who we have been in the past, who we are now and the potential of who we have yet to become?
I can relate to running from parts of me. Running from memories that caused me pain, feeling stuck and paralyzed while attempting to hide from myself. Afraid of myself. Afraid of what would happen if I stopped being afraid. Fear of fear is a doozy, and kept me trapped in a viscous cycle. 
I have learned in order to be my best self, I must accept and embrace all of myself. The part of me that feels afraid at times, overwhelmed at times, overjoyed, delighted and stressed.


There aren’t any parts of me that aren’t worthy of love, compassion and support. Angry me deserves just as much time and attention as happy me. Stressed me deserves as much validation and compassion as peaceful me. Even in my darkest moments, I deserve respect and kindness. Oftentimes we are told we must consistently behave a certain way to receive kindness and love, when that’s simply not the case. God loves us always and in all ways.

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.


God loves us when we are sad, mad, confused, hurting and heartbroken. There is never a time when our Father does not love, care for and empathize with us. We are His Beloved Children, and He wants us to love and treat ourselves the way that He loves and treats us. God wants us to run to Him, confide in Him, and take refuge in His love, at all times, not just when we have been on our best behavior and life is going good. When we learn to allow God to embrace all of us, and allow ourselves to be loved by Him, we can embrace and love ourselves. There is no need to be afraid when there is love, and there is no better way to live, than in love.
                                                           
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Hindsight is 20/20 : Living and Learning Life’s Lessons


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How do we know the roads to take, if we have never travelled them before? The words in the phrase ‘Hindsight is 20/20’ embodies the crux of the human experience. It takes into consideration that once we begin our lives here on Earth as infants, we are starting fresh. Inherent knowledge that is within us, will be revealed throughout the course of our lives, but no one has access to a personal handbook or manual for life’s trials and tribulations, for heartbreak and pain, and for accepting and relishing the good times and expressing gratitude. These are all lessons we learn, not by sitting in a classroom, but through experience, which is the greatest teacher of all. 

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To learn the lessons that our soul craves, the very lessons that we signed up for before our physical bodies were formed, we must be involved in situations where the lesson is learned. These lessons are taught everyday within our lives. We can learn so much from the reactions that we have to minor disturbances that disrupts our everyday calm, and also to earth shattering events, from which our lives are changed forever. 

Until we experience these lessons by living them out, we will not know what the right path is for us. Until we experience the effects that a negative reaction can have on those close to us, we will not know that the positive reaction is the one that is most beneficial. Trial and error. That is the song of life. This is nothing to be ashamed of and should be embraced wholeheartedly, because from these trials and errors, comes invaluable knowledge that will be needed along our soul path. 

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When you come out to your car to find the battery is dead and you must wait for a jump, you are being taught patience. When confronted with a situation where you have to share your feelings on another’s actions, you learn that all truth can be communicated in love. In communicating through tough issues where disagreements can occur, you realize that reciprocity and mutuality is important, as all people have thoughts, feelings and perspectives that should be respected and acknowledged, even if they are not agreed upon. Receiving an incorrect order at a restaurant can turn into a lesson in letting go, and an opportunity to demonstrate kindness. It is one thing to read about love and a whole other thing to receive and give love in action. 

The list goes on and on and most of these lessons aren’t even realized until one is looking over the situation in hindsight. When reviewing your life for lessons to be learned, do not count out hindsight to reveal the lessons that may have first appeared to be hidden. 


Place Of Worship


“Go find your place of worship
Look into your pain and find your praise
Every low place in your life
Prepared you for your high place
Every tear you cried is water for
The garden of your victory
And even though you’re in the valley,
Victory comes through your adversity
Go find your place of worship”
Place of Worship – Marvin Sapp

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Where is this place of worship? Where can we go when life gets to be too much? Where do we turn when answers are unable to be found? Is it possible to gain, and maintain, peace and harmony when unsettling circumstances and situations seem to be a constant threat?

Worship as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “…reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power;” When engaging within an active relationship with our Heavenly Father, worship can become a place. A safe haven, a refuge and a shelter.  Through the act of worship, the act of providing our God with our undivided, loyal, and loving adoration, we create a secret place of rest. This place of rest is available to us always. Worship is one of the keys to unlocking this sacred place, as worship allows us to tap into the divine love of our Creator that surrounds us constantly. Though we are always surrounded by this divine love, we sometimes have a hard time feeling this precious life giving energy and have to be reawakened to its presence. Worship helps us to do this.

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God desires a relationship with His People; His Creations, that were created with, and by intention, and not by chance or cosmic mistake. He desires our conversation, our time, our adoration, appreciation and praise, and He deserves all of these desires. He is never too busy for us. He will never put us on hold and ignore our cries, questions, or pleas. Even if this has seemed to be the case in the past, it is simply not true, as it is out of God’s character to be anything but the utmost good. He desires nothing but the best for each and every one of us.

Our happiness is of utmost importance to Him, and He finds us all deserving of His love, mercy and grace. God does not give in the way that man can give. He does not give with stipulations and invisible strings attached. He gives effortlessly, generously, and from the never ending well of love that He innately is. What God gives to you is yours. What God desires for you is yours.

Just like cultivating any other meaningful relationship within your life, time and effort on your part, is needed. Take the time out of every day to meet God on His terms, and experience the sacred space of worship that can transform your entire being. Take the time out every day to genuinely speak with and listen to God. Allow yourself to be taken into His presence, and bask there.

The Art of Surrender

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Let us face the facts of life on this earthly plane head on. It is not always easy and can sometimes be down right hard. There seem to be a billion and one things to do at all times, and not enough time or energy to get it all done. Humans are driven to continue to do more, be more and experience more at all times. While this is not a negative at all, the constant busyness and hustle and bustle of daily life, can serve to inhibit our connection to the Great Divine.
It is important that we slow down and surrender to feel the fullness of God’s glory in our day to day lives. In order to do this, we must let go. Let go of our expectations. Let go of the plan that we have created for our lives. Let go of our to-do lists. Let go of the million tiny and big thoughts that swirl through our minds constantly. We have to let go of the idea that we are in control. Let go of the notion that we have to be in control of every moment of every day.
We have to give ourselves permission to cast our cares unto the Lord. We have to give ourselves permission to surrender our desires, thoughts, needs, and wants to God, and have faith that He will do just as He has promised, and that He will take care of us. We have to remember that our true nature is love, and surrender unto that love. We have to give ourselves permission to slow down and breathe. Breathe in the security that is the Lord, the security that allows us to surrender so that we can be made whole. Surrender is a gift that we can give to the One who gives so much to us consistently and constantly. Surrender allows us to release the need to have all of the answers, all of the power, all of the control, in favor of allowing our Heavenly Father to take the lead.

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Because God is the epitome of good, of love, and of light, we can always be sure that surrendering to His will, and way, will only manifest good, love and light within our lives. Letting go, allows God the space He needs to work things out in our favor. We can hinder our own blessings and miracles by our desire to hold tightly onto things which we are not meant to hold tightly onto. We produce stress, and unwanted dis-ease, by thinking that we have to be God in our individual worlds and get it all right all by ourselves, when in fact, God wants nothing more but to ease our burden and to make our hearts light.
We cannot lighten a load that we refuse to let go of. Surrender is a constant process, we have to begin each day with a heart that is willing to let go and give to God. We have to make the conscious decision to let go of worry, anxiety, disappointments, irritations and the million other emotions and situations we may encounter, in favor of a lighter heart, a clearer mind, and a spirit that is filled with love and joy.


The Healing Abilities of Gentleness, Kindness, and Love

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Healing, in all of its forms, takes time. The healing process from deep wounds mentally, or emotionally, can be very painful and need to be dealt with head on, with love, kindness and gentleness.

Most do not view or treat themselves with love and kindness, when dealing with emotional or mental wounds and instead push themselves to get past the wound, instead of bearing with themselves in love and support while the healing occurs. When I was deep in the midst of postpartum depression, which I suffered after all three of my births, I made the mistake of trying to push myself through it. I would tell myself that I just needed to keep moving, to shake it off, to pretend like it wasn’t as debilitating it was, and to act normal and speed up my healing, when all I really wanted to do was slow down and rest. I also blamed myself for a mental disorder that I had no control over and that I did not inflict upon myself. I didn’t give myself what I needed to heal, and I wasn’t kind to myself during the process for a very long time.

Mental wellness is essential to a life well lived and to overall health and satisfaction, but the importance of mental wellness is generally overlooked, as we live in a society where it is not appropriate to slow down and take care of ourselves. We are encouraged to take care of others, but very rarely, are we encouraged to take care of ourselves for our own wellbeing and benefit. It wasn’t until I asked myself the tough questions and really took the time to listen, did I realize the error of my ways. I realized that my brain had endured many traumatic events throughout its lifetime, including the hormonal and chemical changes during and after pregnancy, and it needed to rest. I realized that healing is not something that can be rushed, nor should it ever be rushed. The lack of kindness that I had received during my lifetime, led me to treat myself with harshness and I had to teach myself how to speak encouragingly, kindly and lovingly to myself, something that comes natural to me when interacting with others, but didn’t come easily when I interacted with myself.  This negative self talk was magnified by the depression and would take me into a vicious cycle of feeling unworthy and worthless.

I began to make the conscious decision to notice when things weren’t coming easy to me due to my mental state, for example I was more forgetful and had a hard time forming sentences that described the way I was thinking, and treat myself with extra gentleness and kindness in these moments. I began to tell myself it was okay that I couldn’t remember things as well, and that it wasn’t a big deal, I was still healing and, even if I had a long way to go,  I had come a very long way. I could feel my self esteem increasing with every positive conversation that I had with myself.

I am still making positive self talk a habit. I am still learning and I am a work in progress, but I have gained the ability to notice when negative self talk is occurring, be able to pinpoint if it is being magnified by any current stressors and reroute the conversation to a positive perspective. When I find myself speaking to myself negatively, I stop and apologize to myself and offer myself forgiveness, because I deserve to forgive myself and begin anew. Being kinder to myself, has given me the ability to be even more kind and patient to the people around me, especially my loved ones. Treating yourself with kindness, gentleness and love is a gift, and it is a gift that you deserve to both give and receive.